June Gloooom is an annual summer phenomenon in Santa Barbara and surrounding coastal areas, it’s when bright sunny summer days are expected, but you have to wait for the fog to lift – which could take all morning and afternoon; and for some days the fog never lifts. When the grey damp skies continue day after day, there are some who are truly affected; possibly experiencing symptoms of a form of depression called “SAD” or Seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons.
Signs and symptoms of SAD may include, as described by the Mayo clinic
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy
- Having problems with sleeping
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
The specific cause of seasonal affective disorder remains unknown. Some factors that may come into play include:
- Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
- Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
- Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.
Seasonal affective disorder is diagnosed more often in women than in men. And SAD occurs more frequently in younger adults than in older adults.
Factors that may increase your risk of seasonal affective disorder include:
- Family history. People with SAD may be more likely to have blood relatives with SAD or another form of depression.
- Having major depression or bipolar disorder. Symptoms of depression may worsen seasonally if you have one of these conditions.
- Living far from the equator. SAD appears to be more common among people who live far north or south of the equator. This may be due to decreased sunlight during the winter and longer days during the summer months.
Take signs and symptoms of seasonal affective disorder seriously. As with other types of depression, SAD can get worse and lead to problems if it’s not treated. These can include:
- Social withdrawal
- School or work problems
- Substance abuse
- Other mental health disorders such as anxiety or eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
Treatment can help prevent complications, especially if SAD is diagnosed and treated before symptoms get bad.”
The majority of people do not have this disorder – they are simply bummed about the weather, their expectations were not met, and they may naturally feel lethargic. There’s a lighter side to June Gloom, with opportunities to focus on the positives!
Sandy’s QUICK TIPS ON STAYING ON THE POSITIVE:
- Take care of your physical needs (nutritious food, lots of fresh water, rest)
- Take in soul food (pray, read some Proverbs or Psalms or other inspirational material, mentally receive reassurance & savor it)
- Be pro-active: defy the pull of lethargy – set goals, make a task list and use it to keep on track for a productive day (Note: each item you’re able to check off on your task list will raise your dopamine level! which in effect, raises your feelings of pleasure and motivation! woohoo!)
- Do something for someone else! Getting our focus off ourselves and looking outward for opportunities to help others can do a world of difference in our attitude towards life and those around us.
- Exercise (this boosts your feel-good chemicals called endorphins)
- Do something fun! (whatever you enjoy)
- Have a good night’s sleep – you had a great productive day! rest well, you have another great day ahead of you!
POSITIVE perspectives are always an option. Here are some positive points of June Gloom reported in LA Weekly’s article, “IN PRAISE OF JUNE GLOOM, L.A.’S MOST UNDERAPPRECIATED WEATHER EVENT”:
“So what’s so great about June Gloom? Well, for one thing, every cool, overcast day means one less oppressively hot summer day, one less day where you have to run the air conditioner all night. And despite the name — which is obviously amazing — June Gloom isn’t all that gloomy. In fact, it’s perfect, at least in a Goldilocks kind of way. It’s not too hot, not too cold. It hardly ever rains. It may not be great beach weather, but you can do anything you want in June Gloom. You can go for a hike or have a picnic, you can wear shorts in the afternoon and a cardigan at night, you can comfortably run on a field or play baseball or soccer, as the ground gets nice and soft.”
We invited Santa Barbara Business Network members and friends to weigh in on antidotes for fighting depression that can come with ongoing days of grey damp skies when summer sunshine is expected. Here’s our collection of antidotes for brightening the gloomy summer days:
HAPPY QUOTES TO ALTER YOUR FOCUS ONTO THE POSITIVE
For more Happy Quotes, visit: https://www.allhappyquotes.com/work-inspirational-quotes
MORE POSITIVE TIPS AND SHARES FROM OUR FRIENDS:
“Get out into it! This morning I did a six mile mountain hike at sunrise and the gloom didn’t affect us at all. Still I love sunshine and so as skies cleared I went for a motorcycle ride!”
~ Jim Cathcart, International Speaker and Coach, Thousand Oaks
“Get out and exercise…walk, bike ride, especially at the beach”
~ Chris Barros, Santa Barbara
“I remember the 3. September 2017, my 21st birthday, there was a heatwave, then it suddenly began to rain heavily and even started to hail, it was a “microburst”. Although it wasn’t very sunny in sunny California that day I had a fun birthday.
I highly recommend to drink cold cucumber water, very refreshing 🙂
~ Isabel (International student from Germany)
“Wear your warm clothes, sweatshirt and sweatpants, but keep your bathing suit in your purse – then you’re always ready if the sun comes out. For many days my bathing suit stayed in my purse. I still miss Santa Barbara.” ~ Stacie (International student from Germany)
John Mason loves humor to brighten his days. Here’s just a couple from his collection:
The fog will soon lift, and when the hot scorching days appear, you may be thinking, I wish I made more of the June Gloom days!
On the more serious side, please read our Blog “When June Gloom Looms” which includes sobering statistics on mental health, videos of teen suicide survivors and local resources are shared.
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